Times Internet has acquired a majority stake in CouponDunia Media Private Limited, which owns and operates coupon marketplace CouponDunia. The financial terms of the deal were not revealed.
CouponDunia will continue to operate under CEO Sameer Parwani, who will now work closely with Times Internet and other Times of India Group companies. Times Internet’s existing deals site TimesDeal will now be merged with CouponDunia. TimesDeal was competing against the likes of GroupOn, but group buying sites never gained enough traction in India and now the bigger e-commerce players offer similar limited period deals. Couponing sites on the other hand have been doing pretty well.
Parwani said that CouponDunia has more than 1 million subscribers and receives over 2 million visits a month. It is driving Rs 500 Cr of purchases annually from over 1,500 online retailers and brands. It competes against companies such as MyDala, Cashkaro, Pennyful, CupoNation, CouponRaja.com, RetailMeNot.com.
What this means for other players in the market
Couponing sites negotiate deals with e-commerce companies and other retailers and pass them on to customers. In case of e-commerce companies the offers are in most cases, similar to the affiliate rates offered by services. Most of these e-commerce sites explicitly tell normal shoppers not to use these ids to make purchases for themselves, but that is the principle these couponing sites operate on. The combined entity of Coupondunia and Timesdeal will be able to negotiate better deals from all the players in the market due to the scale they will have. Add to that the marketing prowess of Times Group and it will be a very tough competitor to be against.
MyDala founder and CEO Anisha Singh had told Medianama earlier this week that online commerce is only a very small fraction of the business these sites receive. So the rates discussed with offline retail players are not standardised unlike the affiliate rates offered by e-commerce players. Times group could sweeten the deal for some of these players, by offering slightly lower ad rates or other incentives and in turn offer better deals for customers.
Miten Sampat, GM & Business Head at TimesCity had told Medianama that they will integrate TimesDeal into TimesCity at some point. With this move, we’re not sure what happens to those plans or how deals from CouponDunia will be used in TimesCity.
PS: On a side note, CouponDunia still does not have a mobile app, while TimesCity does.
More updates to follow